Fri Nov 6th, 2020
The opt-in technology anonymously alerts people when they have been around someone with COVID-19. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) launched its statewide COVID-19 exposure notification system, previously announced by Governor Jared Polis in partnership with Google and Apple, Sunday October 25.
On Sunday, Coloradans received a notice on their Android and Apple phones with instructions about how to opt-in. CO Exposure Notifications is a free and voluntary service that will be available to Android and Apple iPhone users across Colorado. The technology alerts participants who have been in proximity to someone with COVID-19 long enough to risk an infection.
“We are currently losing ground nationally and here in Colorado to this deadly virus, but we are just launching a new weapon to defeat it. Enable CO Exposure Notifications on your iPhone or Android to help save lives. The CO Exposure Notification tool is an important new feature for Coloradans to make smart and informed health decisions for themselves, their loved ones and our small businesses,” said Governor Polis. “By alerting users to potential COVID-19 exposure, Coloradans can take quick steps in order to limit exposure and risk to family, friends, coworkers and neighbors.”
CO Exposure Notifications will complement existing statewide health safety protocols, without compromising the privacy of Coloradans. Exposure Notification systems like these are critical to preventing further spread of COVID-19. In models developed by Oxford University, researchers have estimated that even if only 15% of the population enables exposure notifications, regions could see a reduction in infections of 8% and deaths by 6%*.
When users enable the service, their smartphones will share anonymous tokens with other users through the phones’ Bluetooth technology. If another user tests positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day period and chooses to upload their results, users at risk of infection will receive an alert of potential exposure. Tokens are not associated with any phone number, name, location or IP address and they change every 15 minutes to add an extra layer of anonymity.
Sarah Tuneberg, Lead of Colorado’s Containment and Testing Team and CO Exposure Notifications service lead explains, “We understand the importance of privacy and security and have taken extensive steps to ensure personal information is not collected, stored or transmitted through the use of CO Exposure Notifications. By adding your phone to the fight and increasing risk awareness and identification, you can help Colorado stop the spread of COVID-19.”
CO Exposure Notifications also provides individuals who receive an exposure alert with instructions on recommended next steps, including information on quarantine and contacting their local public health agency.
Learn more about CO Exposure Notifications at addyourphone.com. For additional resources on COVID-19, visit covid19.colorado.gov.